Skip to main content

tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  January 25, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST

1:00 am
democrats in the senate, but i got to tell you this. as someone who lived and died by polls my whole life, every election, oh, my god, where am i. if he starts deporting these d.r.e.a.m.ers, and these d.r.e.a.m.ers are going to have the face. he's going to go down below 30%. it's a powerful issue. >> thank you for joining me. now. >> he said he would speak under oath, but would he put it quite that way? the secret revealed by sally yates. the senator who once called the white house an adult daycare facility seemingly back on the team. hard to keep the players straight these days without a program, and "the 11th hour" is that program getting underway right now on a wednesday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 370 of the trump administration and we have new developments from th the senator who once called the white house an adult daycare facility seemingly back on the team. hard to keep the players straight these days without a program, and "the 11th hour" is that program getting underway right now on a wednesday night.
1:01 am
well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 370 of the trump administration and we have new developments from the white house itself on the russia investigation. first, president trump is airborne en route to davos, switzerland right now on board air force i. before departing the white house late today, he walked out of his chief of staff's office and right into the pool of journalists who cover the white house. the only photo of it is this one from a white house staffer. there was no video of it because there were no cameras ready for the event. we do have audio of the president who tonight declared himself ready and willing, if not eager, to speak with robert mueller under oath. >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> you want to? do you ever a date set? >> there's been no collusion whatsoever. there's no obstruction whatsoever, and i'm looking
1:02 am
forward to it. >> do you have a date set? >> no. i guess they're talking about two or three weeks, but i would love to do it. i would have to say subject to my lawyers and all that, but i would love to do it. >> will you do it under oath? did hillary do it under oath? she didn't do it under oath but i would do it under oath. if you don't know about hillary, you're not much of a reporter. >> you would do it under oath? >> i would do it under oath, absolutely. >> do you think robert mueller will be fair to you in this larger investigation? >> we're going to find out. here's what i'll say and everybody says. no collusion. now they're saying, well, did he fight back? you fight back, oh, it's obstruction. i hope so. >> not long after that, the president's attorney walked those comments back a bit. trump attorney ty cobb told our own kristen welker that the president was, quote, speaking to reporters hurriedly and that the terms of an interview are still being negotiated by trump's personal lawyers with mueller's staff.
1:03 am
the comment comes one day after mueller's team was pursuing an interview with trump about fired director james comey, among others. but tuesday the president publicly expressed his reservations about testifying before special counsel mueller. >> certainly i'll see what happens, but when they have no collusion and nobody has found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you would even have an interview. >> no collusion. we've heard the president
1:04 am
mention that a time or two. he did again tonight. the question of collusion came up earlier today at the white house briefing. >> the president has said repeatedly there was no collusion between the campaign and russia. can you define what he means when he says collusion? is he talking about meetings between officials, is he talking about information exchanging hands? >> i think the accusation against the president is that he had help winning the election, and that's simply untrue. >> does he think that the reporting from the intelligence community saying there was packing that went on done by russia, he rejects that? >> no, he's addressed that, but that doesn't mean that he participated in it. i think those are very different things. stating the existence of something happening is very different than having helped make it happen. and you can't conflate the two. i think oftentimes that's what individuals are trying to do. >> does he mean that about himself or campaign officials when he says collusion between
1:05 am
the campaign? does he mean himself or no one on his campaign could have done anything? >> look, i think he's stating for himself and anything he would be a part of or know about or have sanctioned, but that would be something that, again, he's very clearly laid out he and his campaign had nothing to do with. >> the questioning there by maggie haberman of the "new york times." tonight the president was asked about how he defines collusion. >> you don't gonna define it for me, okay? but i can tell you there's no collusion. i couldn't have cared less about russians having to do with my campaign. the fact is you people won't say this but i'll say it. i was a much better candidate than her you always say she was a bad candidate you never say i was a good candidate. i was one of the greatest candidates. goodbye, everybody. >> we also have michael flynn
1:06 am
who is now cooperating with robert mueller. a year ago today flynn met with fbi investigators in the west wing without a lawyer present, and that notably he didn't tell the president or top white house officials about it. the white house actually learned about that meeting two days later from then-acting attorney general sally yates, the very same official who warned the white house about flynn being a possible blackmail target. yates has also cooperated with the special counsel. nbc news also reporting that cia director mike pompeo who the president asked to lean on james comey to fire michael flynn, he also has been interviewed. and we learned steve bannon who also had a spectacular fallout with president trump is expected to talk to the special counsel's investigators by the end of this month. so a lot to talk about on a wednesday night as we talk to our lead panel, michael crowley, senior editor at politico, and jack sharmen is back with us for the bank committee and now the special services committee. these days he's a defense attorney.
1:07 am
he will continue to be haunted by the woman who will never be president. did the president tonight in his off-the-cuff remarks blow up any part of his legal strategy? >> brian, i think it might be pr strategy as much as legal strategy here. i think the question of testifying under oath is really a distinction without a difference. it is a felony to lie to the fbi. it doesn't matter where you do it. whether or not you are under oath or not. so if trump were to meet with robert mueller in the oval office or somewhere in the white house and lie to him, whether or not there is an oath, that's a felony. same goes for mueller associates, fbi agents, you can't do it.
1:08 am
what i think is going on, maybe, in the reaction of trump's lawyer ty cobb, who seems to be doing some cleanup, who seems to be saying, well, the president was speaking off the cuff and we're still going to negotiate this, i think the problem might be that when trump says he would testify under oath, you testify under oath typically before a grand jury. and so to the degree trump implied he would go before a grand jury, i think that's primarily a pr problem. it just looks and sounds worse that if you're testifying before a grand jury, it has this ring of criminality. of course, nothing to do with trump's interactions with mueller looks good, but i think if i were trump's lawyer and pr team, i would be saying talk to mueller, try to make it seem as informal as possible, try to make it seem like you're just having a conversation. a grand jury suggests kind of a criminal proceeding in a way
1:09 am
that we want to avoid. i suspect they might be concerned about that, but i don't think there is actually a major legal distinction here. >> so jack, you've got the president in a doorway speaking off the cuff for, let's call it, 15 minutes. if just that caused his attorney ty cobb to walk back his impromptu comments, how is this guy going to do sitting across from robert mueller? >> clearly in many ways this might be a challenging client. this would be a client that thinks very strongly and feels very strongly about what is right and wants to tell his story and tell it with vigor. there is always a danger, though, whether sworn or unsworn, that if the prosecutors and agents believe someone else and believes their story more forcefully that that could be a legal as well as a political
1:10 am
problem. >> mika, jack may be a master of understatement referring to the president as a challenging client. remind our viewers, given all we know about the people who have gone before him, the people who have already talked to mueller, just how detailed a case mueller is going to sit down with, just how detailed a stack of questions are going to come at this client? >> mueller has talked to multiple people and a lot of conversations that the president would get asked about. so he's got all kinds of facts against which he can check the president's testimony. the thing to remember about this president is he's an unreliable narrator about his own activities and the facts surrounding that. he keeps saying his crowds were larger, he keeps going back and forth about his own participation and "access hollywood" tape which he admitted to. but in front of mueller, those inconsistencies have real legal
1:11 am
consequences. and mueller will be able to check those inconsistent against the transcripts of other cabinet officials. he may have other telephone records, others in the tower meeting, all kinds of things. so trump better tell the truth, if he knows what that is. >> do you think trump realizes he can't go in that room and litigate things the way he likes to do with reporters. he can't say, like a cop movie, you have nothing on me. he can't say, they have no collusion, you have nothing. those comments just won't be allowed in the tone or tenor of this meeting. >> i think he's been deposed an awful lot. he's sued a lot of people over the years so has had a lot of experience answering questions
1:12 am
in front of lawyers. but when you go back and look at some of those transcripts, he tries to squirrel his way out of particular answers and it takes a while for people to narrow him down as to the facts. what's different in this than a civil trial is there are real consequences in lying to law enforcement, like michael was saying. >> michael, the preoccupation with hillary clinton continuing to color everything in so many of his utterances. >> for starters, that seemed to fire him up here when he got on the subject of hillary clinton, totally irrelevant to what he's going to be saying to robert mueller, how that interaction is going to work. but you could see how much that animated him. then, you know, he's hung up on the idea of who was a better candidate, the fact he hasn't gotten enough credit for supposedly being a great candidate. he's still obsessed with people describing how good of a candidate he was. there are larger ramifications with this. it is a window to the way trump thinks and a reminder of the way trump thinks so much more broadly in all the acts of his presidency and his policymaking. including foreign policy, which i focus on, you can see the desire to be the anti-obama or the anti-hillary.
1:13 am
the degree to which he defines himself against other people. he's the one who is taking the action that's bigger and bolder and more dramatic than the other person in his shoes would have. i'm thinking, for instance, of the way the white house talked about his decision to recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel. his discontent for the ira nuclear deal despite the advice of his advisers. he took credit for backing off of syria. he has this incredibly powerful ego, but at the same time defines himself against these other -- he has to have opponents and he has to define himself against these other people and establish that he's better than them, bolder than them, bigger than them. that was one of the more interesting elements of this little gaggle that he had today. >> michael, let's talk about michael flynn. i'm guessing you had clients that didn't start as clients and thought they didn't need a
1:14 am
lawyer for the meeting. what does that say about michael flynn who said to the fbi, come on over? what does it mean if he didn't report the meeting to his superiors? >> it could either be carelessness or a misplaced sense of trust and experience. fbi agents doing their job, of course, are not on social calls. and so at best, he could expect to be questioned as a witness. and so that by itself was at a minimum unwise and then not reporting it up the chain also happens not just in government but in the business world itself, either as a question of naivete or perhaps embarrassment and a disinclination to reveal to one's colleagues or superiors that one has been interviewed and questioned about things that perhaps he or she would rather not discuss. >> meike, do you have top one to three questions you have for flynn? >> so i actually think it's
1:15 am
really surprising that he didn't the superiors about this meeting with the fbi. but we also know he had a history of lying about his interactions. he had lied about meetings with kislyak, he lied about the fbi meetings. sally yates had warned them he was not to be trusted. i think with flynn, there are a lot of questions about his financial arrangements that you need the team to get into, about how he was cutting these deals on the side and to what extent was he setting american policy on behalf of his paying clients. and then also i think there are serious questions about the involvement with the russians, why he was in russia for this r.t. dinner, and what did he
1:16 am
know about those meetings in trump tower. >> our great thanks to michael crowley, to meike eoyang, to jack. we have more bombshells on this russian case, including details on this fbi meeting with flynn a year ago today, as the calendar would have it. and later the conspiracy theories in heavy rotation right now alleging the fix is in against this president. "the 11th hour" just getting underway on a wednesday night.
1:17 am
i'm a concrete mason. i own my own company. i had some severe fatigue, some funny rashes. finally, listening to my wife, went to a doctor. and i became diagnosed with hodgkin's lymphoma... that diagnosis was tough. i had to put my trust in somebody. when i first met steve, we recommended chemotherapy, and then we did high dose therapy and then autologous stem cell transplant. unfortunately, he went on to have progressive
1:18 am
disease. i thought that he would be a good candidate for immune therapy. it's an intravenous medicine that can affect the patient's immune system and unleash it against the cancer. with chemotherapy, i felt rough, fatigue, nauseous. and with immune therapy we've had such a positive result. i'm back to working hard. i've honestly never felt this great. i believe the future of immunotherapy at ctca is very bright. the evolution of cancer care is here. learn more at appointments available now.
1:19 am
1:20 am
we're back and we are privy tonight to new details about exactly how a meeting inside the west wing ultimately landed mike flynn in the crosshairs of the mueller investigation and ultimately ended in pleading charges and a guilty plea. flynn never asked why the fbi wanted to come over and talk to him. he agreed to meet with two investigators exactly one year ago today. here's what happened next, quote, two fbi agents arrived at the white house to speak with flynn. a lawyer for the security counsel would ordinarily be tipped off about such a meeting, but that didn't happen in this instance and flynn didn't appear with his personal lawyer. he met with the two agents alone. with more on this, chris gregarian for the "new york times" and ron hoffman, former director of the fbi and current director of the legal defense fund.
1:21 am
ron, how does this work? you get the guy on the phone. we'd like to come over and talk to you. are you vague at that stage and are you, frankly, amazed when you walk into his office, just him, no lawyer? >> in this certain situation i am. yes, i would be purposely vague. we would like to come talk to you about some matters of mutual interest, can you put us onto your schedule? can you work that out into your schedule? is there a time that's convenient for you? as low-key as i possibly could and see if he's a taker. see if he's interested in that sort of contact, if he's open to it. in the fbi agents' perfect world, there is no attorney in the room. there is no one slowing down the questioning, interrupting the pace, interfering in any appreciable way. in this circumstance because mr. flynn was not then going to be
1:22 am
taken into custody, no reason to read him his rights. this is not a custodial interrogation, not in the fbi office, so you don't really have that concern. it's a great opportunity for the fbi. >> and ron, i know you're not a shrink, but perhaps you are in your personal life, but think about the collection of things that he is. former general used to getting his way. he probably didn't have any reason to think he was guilty of anything. probably believed very much in his innocence. thought he had nothing to hide. and so is he welcomed them. is that kind of the collection of attributes? >> you know, i think that those are a number of the elements,
1:23 am
and here's the risk. and frankly here's the risk that i see down the road for potentially the president himself, is that you overestimate yourself and you underestimate those fbi agents knocking on your door. very often they are fully informed of facts and details and circumstances, very often they may let you tell the first initial story in its entirety that may be riddled with lies, and then they may loop back and try to challenge you on lies, and things can go downhill from there. >> chris, you have profiled former general flynn. what about the flynn you have profiled fits the profile of a guy who says to the fbi, yeah, sure, come on over, i'll listen to whatever questions you have? >> well, he's somebody who spent a lot of time overseas as a battlefield intelligence officer, somebody very focused on locating and eliminating enemies in iraq and afghanistan and views himself as somebody very dedicated to his country. probably, as you said, somebody who felt like he had done nothing wrong and might not have anything to hide, and also not used to that kind of -- to working in a bureaucracy like the white house, somebody who had often been trying to do
1:24 am
things his own way on the battlefield and had, you know, been put in a very different role once he got to the white house. >> ron, that last point you made about people who underestimate the feds and specifically the men and women, 37,000 of them from the fbi. i guess this calls for a personal answer. what's it been like for you to see them attacked, trolled, to see career civil servants attacked by the president of the united states? >> yeah, i don't like it. i don't like the vibe that i get, you know, just bumping into friends and people on the street. you as is a retired fbi agent, it's hard to go to a meeting to intersect with people who know what you do without being asked
1:25 am
about the fbi. i know morale has started to sag being asked those questions, and in my estimation of plenty of friends and colleagues, some of this is self-inflicted. there are great patriots, there are great agents, analysts in support of employees keeping america safe every day. i think we're talking about a small number of people, but those mistakes self-inflicted have been magnified in recent days, certainly in repeated and, you know, ad infinitum, so these are challenging times for the fbi and it does impact us all. >> thank you for that honest answer. that is helpful in our understanding. and chris, from all the threads from just today, we've got flynn, we've got now trump and cobb and bannon.
1:26 am
what stands out to you? what's your lead tonight for tomorrow? >> well, there's one thing that the president said today that stood out to me. he sort of addressed the obstruction issue, and he seemed to conflate the idea of him fighting back to his critics and opponents of being accused of obstruction of justice, and people were saying, oh, he was obstructing, where really he was just fighting back. he often fancies himself as a counterpuncher, and whether or not that kind of approach to campaigning and governing and how that fits into a legal framework of this investigation is something that we're very interested to see. >> yeah, those counterpunches and that relitigating of past grievances we were reflecting in the first block tonight will not be allowed in the format of the interview with mueller and his team, we're guessing. gentlemen, terrific discussion tonight and thank you both for coming on. we'll invite both of you back. coming up for us, the
1:27 am
conspiracy theories making the rounds largely on the right, and how they fit in the effort to defend this president. two of the headlines on fox
1:28 am
1:29 am
1:30 am
two of the headlines on fox news tonight that i looked up and saw were "clinton cover-up" and "the fix was in." conservative media are running with the story of text messages at the fbi as part of a conspiracy theory of sorts surrounding the existence of the
1:31 am
so-called deep state. and a secret society within the justice department that was out to get donald trump before the election that he won and remains out to get him now that he's president. it now dominates a lot of the prime time programming on fox news and elsewhere. >> it may be time to declare war outright against the deep state and clear out the rot in the upper levels of the fbi and the justice department. yes, i said the rot. the fbi and the doj have broken the public trust by destroying evidence, defying oversight and actively trying to bring down the trump presidency. >> i'm not surprised there is a secret society within the establishment that was designed to get rid of trump. we were never supposed to know any of this. >> there needs to be serious ramifications if we're going to save our country in all this. people must be held accountable, they must be investigated, they must be indicted and probably
1:32 am
many of them thrown in jail. >> in an article published today from the "washington post" entitled "your guide to the anti-fbi conspiracy theories rippling through the conservative media, walt philip bump argues it is the president whipping up a conspiracy and whatever sat hand to bolster that claim. philip bump, correspondent with the "washington post" is with us tonight, and charlie sykes, author of "how the right lost its mind" and an nbc contributor. mr. bump, walk our audience through these two stories, one of which over the release of a memo, loosely. the other over these text messages at the fbi. >> right. so it's sort of hard to walk through these quickly simply because they are, by their very nature, built out to be very intricate because that is the
1:33 am
way in which they are meant to appear more trustworthy, because they have all these different components and all these different actors, most of which are tangential and not particularly relevant. the memo is a memo that was written by staff members for a republican member of congress named devon nunez. he was also one of the leading voices defending donald trump after the infamous trump tower wire tap tweet. nunez actually had to recuse himself from negotiations because of the interaction with the white house. so the staff wrote this memo, and according to those who have seen it, not many people have seen it outside of congress, it is sort of a cherry-picked assessment of ways that the process of getting a warrant was compromised. it's not clear what that was,
1:34 am
but democrats who have seen this and are privy to the contents it's based on say it is basically out of hand, that it's either nonsense or just a partisan list that is meant to sort of stir up emotions. the department of justice has not seen it. they haven't even had a chance to respond to this memo and just sent a letter to nunez today, i believe it was, that called it reckless to even consider releasing this to the public without the department of justice being able to see it, and saying they've seen no evidence of the warrant process was problematic. so that's the memo. then there are these text messages. people may remember there was an fbi agent named peter strock who carried on a relationship with a woman in the fbi, and they had text messages back and forth during the campaign. while doing that, they had made some disparaging comments about donald trump. but what's at heart, what really brought this to the forefront this week was it was discovered because of a bug, the fbi said they had given out new phones and hadn't set them up properly, so is the texts weren't captured between february and may, right at the point when president trump was seating his counsel. then there was one text message that came out and it was just reported by abc news that it was mentioned a tangential secret to society, and this was built up,
1:35 am
so it a lot of little things that are sort of blown up and pieced together to make a web that so far doesn't seem to reveal very much. >> so charlie, this is where you come in. the web of secret society was just enough for a fellow wisconsinite of yours, republican senator ron johnson, to go on fox news and build on this notion of secret society. we'll play what he originally said, we'll play him being questioned about it and coming back on the tips of his skis. here it is. >> in a secret society, we have an informant that's talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off-site. there is so much smoke here, there's so much suspicion --
1:36 am
>> let's stop there. a secret society, secret meetings off-site of the justice department? >> correct. >> you have an informant saying that? >> yes. >> do you really believe there is a secret society within the fbi trying to take down the president? >> all i said was i read those in those texts. that's strock and page's term. >> charlie, it's been said, and i think you said to one of our producers he's a better man than this incident. >> that's what's so heartbreaking and disappointing about this, because ron johnson is a conservative, level-headed, wonky kind of guy, and this is an indication of how frantic the
1:37 am
efforts to discredit this has become. the fever swamps are overflowing right now. there is a long tradition of trafficking and conspiracy theories, the strain in american politics, from info wars to the drudge report to used to be on sean hannity. now you're seeing otherwise reasonable republicans who are deciding to have a bonfire of their reputations by coming out and trafficking. philip bump lays it out very, very clearly. you're talking about unsubstantiated rumors, urban legends, text messages that might make jokes, and they're trying with all the heavy breathing to turn this into the deep state's secret society. the problem with this is not only is the political agenda obvious, but there is a real price to be paid in attacking
1:38 am
the fbi, in demeaning the fbi, in attacking and delegitimizing the intelligence agencies of this country before we know what robert mueller comes up with. because, i mean, look, this should not be a partisan issue. the ron johnson that i knew would have thought a russian attack on our democracy was a massively important thing. so i think it's an indication of just how hysterical it's become that guys like my home state senior senator has gone down this road. >> to our viewers, both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us over a break. when we come back, the question what's up with bob corker? my family's pride and pride in myself because shoulders were made for greatness not dandruff
1:39 am
1:40 am
...from godaddy! in fact, 68% of people who have built their... using gocentral, did it in under an hour, and you can too. build a better website - in under an hour. with gocentral from godaddy.
1:41 am
bob corker and donald trump have had a rocky relationship. back in 2016 the tennessee republican was discussed as a possible pick for vice president under trump. later he was on the short list for secretary of state but eventually the relationship soured. the split started this past summer in the aftermath of trump's response to the violence in charlottesville.
1:42 am
that led to comments from corker like these. >> the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. >> do you think the president is defacing the nation? >> i don't think there's any question but that's the case just in the way that he conducts himself and goes to such a low level. you would think he would aspire to be the president of the united states and act like a president of the united states, but, you know, that's just not going to be the case, apparently. >> fast-forward to today at an event in davos, switzerland. corker managed to turn what could have been a point of criticism into a positive. >> as you know, the president and i haven't always seen eye to
1:43 am
eye. that's been well documented. on the other hand, i will tell you i've seen where that unpredictability has been helpful in negotiations. >> still with us, philip bump and charlie sykes. charlie, there is every chance we are making too much of this, but we've also seen similar behavior by senator graham of south carolina. what gives? what's going on here, do you think? >> i think there is a larger process going on where republicans are basically figuring, hey, we're in for a dime, in for a dollar. there is a push to normalize the trump presidency among conservatives and republicans, particularly after that tax cut vote. you're seeing a lot of that. this is donald trump's washington, it's donald trump's republican party, and there is tremendous pressure, i think, to go, hey, look, he's the president. if you criticize him, you're going to be on the outs. you might as well come in from the cold. >> philip, this is not your first rodeo, either. how carefully should we dissect what we're seeing here?
1:44 am
>> i agree with everything charlie just said, but i believe in this particular case, an incredibly limited scope of what senator corker said there. it struck me more as saying, i've been struck with the flu the last two weeks, i'm throwing up every hour, but hey, at least i lost a lot of weight. a lot of horrible things about him but i guess there is one good thing. short of him playing golf with him like lindsey graham does every weekend, i'll reserve judgment. >> one political leader you would consider leading the opposition, someone who is not thinking of leaving washington because they're not running for reelection? >> there's no one. i was thinking john mccain or jeff flake until you threw that last one in at the end. there really is no significant congressional opposition to donald trump that's going to be sticking around, at least at the moment. >> there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. two friends of ours, philip bump, charlie sykes. thank you both for coming on and
1:45 am
helping us with our discussion tonight. for us, more news for president trump. it wasn't just russia that made headlines tonight. he also announced a new policy, apparently, on d.r.e.a.m.ers.
1:46 am
1:47 am
1:48 am
we want to do a great job with daca. i think it's our issue. i think it's a better issue for the republicans and the democrats. >> do you want citizenship first? >> we're going to morph into it. >> what does that mean? >> over a period of 10 to 12 years. somebody does a great job. it gives them incentive to do a great job. >> before leaving for davos tonight, the president walked out of his chief of staff's office into a room filled with white house correspondents. he was more expansive on this topic of immigration where he was all over the map, charted new territory on things like daca and his wall. again, there were no cameras present so we only have audio of the exchange. >> how much do you need for your wall, mr. president?
1:49 am
20 billion? >> i'm going to build it way under budget, but we're putting down 25 billion for the wall. but we will build it way under. by the way, just so you understand, and you would know this, chief, because you've seen it for a long time and everybody here. where you have a mountain, you're not building a wall. i said that from the beginning. i don't define it every speech. when you have a river that is uncrossable that you cannot cross, you don't build a wall, okay? i can tell you this. if you don't have a wall, you don't have daca. >> when you have a mountain, you don't have a wall. i think that was a song by the christy minstrels in the 1960s. here with us billy crystal, editor at large of the weekly standard, welcome, obviously. how would like to be, in no particular order, his chief of staff, legislative director, majority leader senate on the hill and react to his reaction
1:50 am
before he left for davos tonight. >> he hit upon hit upon it early demagoguery about immigrants, muslims and it really helped but it was not authentic. trade is an issue he's always been worked up, japan, china taking advantage of our trade deals. he marries immigrants, he hires immigrants. so he hit upon it. i don't think it's deep. i think he exploited it in a way that was bad for the country. he wants the wall, that's a signature item and he's willing to make big concessions for the d.r.e.a.m.ers. there's a deal to be done there. the question is will trump follow through on the deal or will he get pulled back by parts
1:51 am
of the republican party? >> i wanted to talk to you about your party tonight because it is near and dear to your heart. it is these days fertile ground for conspiracy theories. i want to just run you what our mutual friend steve schmidt said about this and the corrosive effect it's having. >> there's a smear campaign directed at two fbi agent, it is latter day mccartyism and it is trying to blow smoke around this investigation, to obstruct the american people from finding out what went on here at all costs. >> first of all, do you concur with steve? ia -- yeah, pretty much. just the assault on huge chunks of the government in those places is pretty astonishing. you have the republicans in the house now -- a large number of them, not just one or two, basically seem to be arguing that donald trump's justice department has engaged in a coverup, cannot be trusted, he's not being honest about the investigation that they're moving ahead on. it's amazing, you talked about
1:52 am
this earlier in the show, this amazing letter from trump's justice department, from the legislative affairs assistant attorney general but signed off on by the attorney general himself and i guess by the white house saying it would be wildly recklessly irresponsible or something like that to release this memo that devyn nunez has written but all the house republicans are going around saying release the memo, release the memo, we hasn't gone through the normal clearing process. i never thought i'd see the republican party -- elements of the democratic parties at times have veered of that, though most
1:53 am
of the time they stay away from that, too. >> i want to get to attacks on institutions. first of all, in 2020, neighbors of yours and mine are going to going door to door with clip boards taking the vital census and meet up with a constituency that's been told to at least mistrust government. tonight an fbi somewhere is serving a warrant and showing his or her credentials at a front door. think about how these chilling attacks on the fbi have already affected how people view that badge and those credentials. >> and it's not right to separate that from just hysteria about the deep state and this is the thing i was thinking about today. steve bannon's gone from the white house. but bannon isn't all gone. the talk about the deep right, the deep distrust and attempt to delegitimize our basic institutions has spread over the
1:54 am
last three, four, five months, even as steve bannon was banished from the white house and lost his job at breitbart and that i think is startling. >> thanks very much for coming on to talk to you. a final break for us. when we continue, a history-making first on the way from the u.s. senate from a senator who has made history before.
1:55 am
1:56 am
1:57 am
my "business" was going nowhere... so i built this kickin' new website with godaddy. building a website in under an hour is easy! 68% of people... ...who have built their website using gocentral, did it in... ...under an hour, and you can too. type in your business or idea. pick your favourite design. personalize it with beautiful images.'re done! and now business is booming. harriet, it's a double stitch not a cross stitch! build a better website - in under an hour. free to try. no credit card required. gocentral from godaddy.
1:58 am
one last thing before we go here tonight. perhaps you saw one of the many news items over the past 24 hours about how illinois senator tammy duckworth will make history this spring by becoming the first u.s. senator to give birth while in office. that is true. indeed the senator's daughter, abigail, will be getting either a little sister or brother in just a few months. and in terms of senate history, it will be a first, but where this particular senator is concerned, she made history a long time ago. she was born in thailand to an american family that traces its military service back to the revolutionary war. timmy duckworth joined rotc while in graduate school. she went to flight school and became a blackhawk helicopter pilot because it was one of the few combat jobs open to women. she was studying toward a ph.d
1:59 am
when her illinois national guard unit was called up and she went to war in iraq. she made history, not by choice, when her blackhawk was hit in 2004. she lost both legs and her right arm had to be rebuilt and she became the first double amity of the iraq war. she came home, rebuilt her body and her life. she was elected to congress and the senate. her inspiration was bob dole and the story of how he recovered from his own grievous wounds after world war ii. and along the way, tammy duckworth finished her ph.d. so, yes, when she and her husband welcome her second child, it will be historic. but tammy duckworth, lieutenant colonel u.s. army retired, she made history a long time ago. that is our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york.
2:00 am


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on